May 20, 2024

Former Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Hon. Kwadwo Adjei-Darko has said it is unconstitutional to pay Assembly Members monthly allowance from the Consolidated fund.

Backing his argument with the Constitution, he said, Article 250 (1) of the 1992 constitution of Ghana clearly states that the emoluments of a District Chief Executive of a District Assembly shall be determined by Parliament and shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund.

And Article 250 (2) says, the emoluments of a Presiding Member of a District Assembly and other members of the Assembly shall be determined by the District Assembly and paid out of the Assembly’s own resources.

The local Governance Expert explained that paying Assembly Members from the Consolidated Fund will violate the constitution and will also lead to double salary since some of the Assembly Members are government workers.

He indicated that, according to the constitution, the Assemblies should be paid with their own Internally Generated Funds (IGF).

His comment comes after the former president and Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama promised that the next NDC government would pay monthly allowances of GH¢1,000 to all Assembly members.

Speaking at Hohoe in the Volta Region during his “Building the Ghana we want together” tour, Mr. Mahama stated that “The office of the President’s budget alone is more than GH¢2 billion. We are going to reduce the President’s office expenditure to pay the Assembly members.”

But the Local Governance Expert, Mr. Kwadwo Adjei-Darko in an interview with Peace FM monitored by said paying Assembly Members is not so simple like the former president is saying.

“The Article 250 (2) of the constitution says the emoluments of a Presiding Member of a District Assembly and other members of the Assembly shall be determined by the District Assembly and paid out of the Assembly’s own resources. So if someone says he will pay Assembly Members GHC1, 000, in the first place was the amount determined by the Assembly? because the constitution has not been amended. And if the Assembly determined the amount themselves, the constitution further states that from their own resources” He said.

“The reason why those who drafted the constitution were specific was that we don’t want anybody to receive double pay because the work of the Assembly is not full time like parliament. It is part time, But everybody is working, so a Medical Doctor in the District who doubles as Assembly Member, how much is his salary, so if you say from the Consolidated fund, you will pay him GHC1, 000 and also receive GHC5, 000 monthly salary from the Consolidated fund, he has received double pay. ” He added.

The former Member of parliament for the Sunyani West constituency indicated that the most important thing is to empower the Assembly to geerate more revenue.

“So it is not so simple, we must look at the constitution well. I am not saying we should not give Assembly Members allowance but it is subject to debate. And also find a proper means to empower the Assembly to generate more revenue. For example, property rate and others. Apart from that, any grant from the government that passes through the Consolidated fund is not an Internally Generated Fund (IGF) from the Assembly so is not their own resources, so we have to look at it well. We should not make sweeping statements because of political power” He admonished.

According to him, he is astonished that the former president is making such statements.

“In fact I am very sad that the former president who knows the number of institutions that are under the government machinery is saying this. A lot of Commissions don’t have a straight budget line but they come under the office of government machineries. When did any government capture the AIDS Commission in their budget? but all of these should be catered for. Under former president Kufuor’s regime, the National Identification Authority was under the Office of government machinery. All these come under the Chief of Staff Office. And we must also know that workers compensation keeps on increasing. Only for you to come and apologise that I didn’t know it was like this. This is an election year, we should be measured by our promises” The Local Governance Expert cautioned.